This is a picture of the coast of Northern Ireland. My Ireland trip was probably the most successful and fun yet, tied with Barcelona, which was also amazing. So many things towards the beginning of the trip could have gone horribly wrong, but we had some major Irish luck on our side, and everything went as smooth as pie.
So we flew out Friday night to Dublin. It had been quite a crazy day for me, since I’d taken a SIX HOUR chamber of commerce test to hopefully certify me in ‘business french’ (whatever that means). It involved running around Paris and two separate oral components in which you had to speak in front of a French person. Crazy! Also, I’d barely gotten any sleep all week because of finals. This is all to say that I was exhausted by the time my friend Anna and I got on our plane.
We were planning to take the train north to Belfast the next morning, where we’d meet Anna’s aunt and uncle. Anna had set up a couchsurf for us to do Friday night in Dublin, so that we wouldn’t have to pay for a hostel. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s this website called couchsurfing.com where you find people who agree to let you sleep on their couch for free. Long story short, since our plane arrived at midnight in Dublin, it was a bit of a crazy (and at times, scary) mess making our way to this stranger’s house, but it essentially worked out just fine in the end. The condo where we were sleeping belonged to a Swedish girl, a Brazilian guy, and a Lithuanian guy. They were all incredibly nice. I had this moment as I was falling asleep on their couch where I was just momentarily floored by how bizarre it was, that I was there, in Ireland, in a house full of strangers. How often in life do you find yourself in a situation like that?
So Anna and I left feeling pretty adventuresome. More precisely, we left at about 6am to catch our train, which meant we were even more exhausted than before. I won’t bother listing for you all of the things that almost went wrong in the beginning of our trip, one of them being that Anna forgot to print or write down the reference number of her train ticket, but just know that there were about ten different instances on Friday and Saturday when everything almost went terribly, but actually ended up being just fine. Irish luck, I swear. However, because I was still reeling from the greek tragedy, I almost had a heart attack every time a new traveling problem came up. But no matter.
In Belfast we met up with Anna’s insanely cool young aunt and uncle, and from there we all drove to a small town called Bushmills on the coast of Northern Ireland. We stayed in this adorable and spacious barn-turned-cottage house. During our three days in the north, we went on a beautiful coastal hike that involved a swinging rope bridge (pictured), explored the Giants Causeway, and of course toured the Bushmills whiskey distillery. Anna’s uncle is a professional photographer and therefore took us to all of the most photogenic spots.
We drove down all together back to Dublin, where Anna and I spent the remaining three days on our own. We spent one of those days going on a tour of Glendalough and Wicklow national park, where we saw a 6th century monastery (St. Kevin’s). Our time in the city of Dublin was also really fun – we covered the city on foot, toured the giant seven-floor “Guinness experience,” ate in pubs, tasted all the Irish beers, admired the churches, listened to Irish music (which we both loved). Exhausted and happy, we left vowing to return to Ireland in the very near future.
Tomorrow I’m spending the day in London! Can’t wait. 🙂